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October inflation surprises with jump to 7.6%

October inflation picked up to 7.6%, from 7.5% recorded in the previous month.

Economists had expected inflation to ease to 7.4%.

Stats SA released the figures on Wednesday, which show a 0.4% month-on-month increase in October.

The main contributors to inflation were food and nonalcoholic beverages, which increased 12% on a year-on-year basis and transport, which was up 17.1%.

Housing and utility prices were up 4.3% on a year-on-year basis, and also contributed to the increase.

Breads, cereals, meat and dairy are the key product groups which drove food inflation, explained Patrick Kelly, chief director for price statistics.

“The bread and cereals category continues to see high levels of inflation with the annual rate increasing to 19.5%, compared to 19.3% last month,” Kelly said.

Large monthly price increases were recorded for sweet biscuits, macaroni, and maize meal – Stats SA highlighted.

Annual meat inflation rose to 10.5% from 9.9% in September and milk, eggs and cheese prices saw an increase of 10.5% – the highest rate since February 2017, Kelly said.

Hot beverage prices increased by 14% – also the highest annual reading since February 2017. –